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Is the company free to modify the remuneration of the employee without his agreement?


The employment contract can only be modified with the agreement of the parties. When signing the employment contract, the employer cannot insert a clause by which he reserves the right to unilaterally modify the contractual remuneration. Any modification of the remuneration requires the express agreement of the employee and the absence of a response from the employee does not, therefore, constitute acceptance. If the employee accepts the modification of his salary, the new amount must be formalized in writing in the month following its entry into force.


In some cases, part of the salary may vary: this is the variable part. This variable portion is, for example, provided for in sales contracts. Part of the salary is then made up of commissions acquired in proportion to the achievement of the employee’s commercial results. If these results fall, the variable part falls and therefore the remuneration falls. As long as there remains a remuneration at least equal to the conventional minimum and the variation of the salary is based on objective elements independent of the will of the employer, there is nothing to complain about.


The employer is entitled to request a lower salary for economic reasons if his company is in financial difficulty. For this, he must follow a particular procedure. First of all, he must consult the staff representatives and then send the employee the modification proposal by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. This letter must state precisely the reasons for the request. It must also specify to the employee that he has a period of one month from receipt to make his refusal known. The employee must be very attentive to the deadline because, in the absence of a response, the employee is deemed to have accepted the proposed modification.


In the event of an express refusal of a reduction in salary by the employee, in particular when economic circumstances are invoked, the employer has a limited alternative: he can either maintain the employment contract under the initial conditions or proceed with the dismissal of the employee. for economic reasons. The employee’s refusal is not a fault in itself and cannot constitute a cause for dismissal. The dismissal letter must therefore precisely indicate the economic reasons for this dismissal. If the employee has sufficient seniority, he receives legal or conventional severance pay. In addition, the employer cannot impose on the employee to perform his notice with the reduction in remuneration and the notice must be performed with the previous remuneration. There are also cases where,


If you want to challenge the redundancy, then you have to go to the industrial tribunal. The employer will then have to justify the real and serious nature of the reasons he invokes to dismiss the employee. If the dismissal is deemed unfounded, the employee can obtain compensation. If the employer continues to impose a reduction in salary without dismissing the employee, the latter may demand in summary proceedings the continuation of his employment contract under the previous conditions. It is also possible for him to seek the judicial termination of his employment contract at the fault of the employer: the contract continues until the industrial tribunal rules. If the termination is pronounced at the fault of the employer, the employee receives compensation for dismissal without real and serious cause. Finally,

DAMY Law Firm, Nice, Salary reduction, Update 2022